"Royal Bay" (aka "Della") (1963)
Character: Della ChappelEpisode: Pilot (Later sold as a television film and shown throughout the late 1960s in syndication)Duration: 65 minutesPremiered: Late 1964 (later sold into syndication)
Della Chappel (Joan Crawford) is the infamously wealthy reclusive of the town of "Royal Bay." When attorney Barney Stafford (Paul Burke) becomes intertwined in her life while attempting to encourage her to sell property she owns for development and job growth for the community, he becomes infatuated with her daughter Jenny (Diane Baker). Jenny suffers from a rare disease which makes her allergic to bright light, in particular to the sun.Therefore Della, and her daughter, live in a secluded mansion and are only active after nightfall. Unknowing of Jenny's illness, Barney begins to feel Della is more of a prison warden over Jenny than a mother. Therefore, Barney begins encouraging Jenny to leave the house, but she knows she can't. Barney interprets this as being due to the influence of her mother.
After heated a exchange with Barney, Della reveals the true to him, and he decides it's best for him to leave Jenny and her mother alone. Jenny overhears this, and after Barney leaves the mansion Jenny runs away. While speeding down the road in her car, Jenny loses control and her car plummets over a cliff and she is killed. Following the accident, Della meets with Barney and further explains her relationship with Jenny, and asks to oversee a project to build a place in the city for the enjoyment of children in the memory of Jenny. After Barney leaves, Della proceeds to open all the closed curtains throughout the house.
Cast & Crew:
Director: Robert Gist
Written By: Richard Alan Simmons
Producer: Four Star Productions, Joan Crawford (executive producer without credit)
Joan Crawford - "Della Chappel"
Paul Burke - "Barney Stafford"
Diane Baker - "Jenny Chappel"
Charles Bickford - "Hugh Stafford"
This was the pilot episode for the series "Royal Bay," which Joan co-produced along with "Four Star Productions." Joan and "Four Star Production executive Tom McDermott pitched the show to several networks throughout 1963, however, none were interested. Finally, Joan and McDermott decided to film the series pilot and attempt to sell the series to a network with the pilot in hand.
Filming took place from October 7th, 1963 until the final week of October 1963. During filming, Joan commented to a reporter that she felt the series may not be purchased by a television network, and if not, it would be edited into a television film.
It was reported in March 1964 that the pilot was scheduled to be added to the 1964 fall line-up, however, that did not happen and "Royal Bay" ultimately premiered on television in 1965 as a movie of the week with the title "Della."
Had the series sold, Paul Burke was to receive 25% of the series' profits, along with top billing.
This was the third and final collaborative project between Joan and actress Diane Baker. Baker had previously worked with Joan in two feature films;
"The Best of Everything" in 1959, and "Strait-Jacket," which was filmed only two months prior in July and August 1963.
Webmaster's Note: Despite what has been said online, this project was not intended to be a weekly series starring Joan Crawford, however, she was a producer on the project and planned to be a regular guest star if it were to have became a series. The series' plot was meant to rotate around the four sons of Hugh Stafford, with the episodes being dedicated to a predicament or situation involving one of the four sons.